Disabled Northampton man has been unable to book taxi to doctors’ surgery for two months

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A disabled Northampton man has been unable to visit his doctor after unsuccessfully trying to book a taxi to the surgery for two months.

Jim O’Rourke, 62, of Thorplands Brook, has a spinal condition that means he cannot walk - as well as a severe heart condition - and does not have a car.

He gets about by specially adapted taxis that have ramps or lifts to take his wheelchair.

But recently he has found that taxi services able to transport him are fully booked week after week.

It means he is unable to leave the house to do anything socially or even visit the doctor or clinic by appointment.

He said: “I have tried about a dozen different firms but none of them are able to help.

“They all say they have so many repeat bookings that there are no slots for me. I’m quite happy to pay the money, but it’s impossible to accommodate me.”

Mr O’Rourke said taxi firms have told him their advanced bookings are mostly from Northamptonshire County Council, which contracts out the transport of vulnerable adults and children privately.

Although he tried to get make a booking through the council, he says he was refused.

Mr O’Rourke said: “Luckily I have a single regular slot that was booked a long time ago so that I can do the weekly shop round the corner but, aside from that, I can’t seem to make any further bookings.

“I have the money to pay these guys, I’m desperate to use their company, but I can’t go out.

“I’m trapped here with no social life. I find it absurd.”

The county council says it uses 160 different firms to transport vulnerable people.

A Northamptonshire County Council spokesman said: “We do hire taxis on behalf of vulnerable and disabled clients for specific journeys, although we do not keep these vehicles ‘on standby’.

“It is frustrating not being able to get a taxi at peak times when they are in high demand from both individuals and other organisations.

“This is an issue for us too, and our best advice is to consider booking in advance or taking journeys at off peak times where possible to avoid this.”